8 years after Prince's death: Fentanyl then and now

Prince would have turned 66 earlier this month.

His cousin put together a panel of experts to talk about the dangers of the drug that killed him.

When Prince passed away from a fentanyl overdose at Paisley Park eight years ago, it was the first time Charles Smith heard about the drug and how deadly it could be.

Now he is trying to stop others from losing a loved one like he did.

"It is always going to be painful and the way he passed. That's why it's important to me and our family to make sure that he gets justice in a way," said Smith.

The DEA says since Prince's death in 2016,  the cartels have switched from pushing heroin to pushing fentanyl because it's cheaper to make and the profit margins are much larger.

In Hennepin County alone, there is a death a day from fentanyl, and law enforcement is seizing more of it in powder form than pills, which they say dealers are putting in other drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine and can lead to deadly consequences for their unwitting customers.

"When people, they might think they're buying cocaine, but they're getting cocaine with fentanyl and they have no idea, They never use fentanyl. They have no tolerance for fentanyl and it's a deadly dose," said Major Rick Palaia with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

In fact, the number of opioid overdose deaths in Minnesota has more than doubled from 395 in 2016 to just over a thousand in 2022.

Experts say the vast majority, 92 percent, involve fentanyl.

"There is a commercial out there about this isn't your father's Buick. Well, this isn't your father's fentanyl anymore. The drug is deadlier than ever," said Assistant Special Agent In Charge Rafael Mattei, from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Smith says he doesn't want fentanyl to rob society of someone else like his cousin.

"Prince and I were influenced by these great geniuses that were taking it too soon and then to have him have that oh man is just not cool. Not cool at all," said Smith.

Smith says investigators are still trying to track down the source of the fentanyl that killed his cousin and he won't rest until they do.